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WNY departments of health remind residents of travel advisory

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Tue, Jun 30th 2020 12:25 pm

Slow the spread of COVID-19 in New York state by preventing travel-based transmission of this disease

By the Erie County Department of Health and the Niagara County Department of Health

Governors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a travel advisory on June 25 that requires all individuals traveling from states with significant community transmission of COVID-19 to remain under quarantine for a period of 14 days. As of June 30, those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has established exemptions for essential workers, but in general, people who are returning to Erie County from those listed states are required to remain under precautionary quarantine. Those requirements include:

√ Separate quarters with separate bathroom facilities for each individual or family group. Access to a sink with soap and water, and paper towels is needed.

√ The contact must have a way to self-quarantine from household members as soon as fever or other symptoms develop, in a separate room. There must be a door that separates it from the rest of the living area and has its own bathroom. Given that an exposed individual might become ill while sleeping, the exposed individual must sleep in a separate bedroom from household members.

√ Cleaning supplies, e.g. household cleaning wipes, must be provided in any shared bathroom.

√ If an individual sharing a bathroom becomes symptomatic, all others sharing the bathroom will be considered exposed persons until the symptomatic individual is appropriately evaluated and cleared.

√ Food must be delivered to the individual’s quarters.

√ Quarters must have a supply of face masks for individuals to put on if they become symptomatic.

√ Garbage must be bagged and left outside by the door of each of the quarters for routine pick up. Special handling is not required.

√ Individuals should self-monitor for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19 daily throughout the duration of the quarantine period.

Individuals or businesses with questions about this advisory should contact NYSDOH.

“If you are planning a trip, we are urging you to avoid travel to states or regions where there is a high prevalence of COVID-19,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “The number of reported Erie County COVID-19 cases is currently low. We must avoid importing new cases from outside of NYS, which can lead to COVID-19 community transmission and new outbreaks in Erie County.”

She continued, “We have done so much to reduce the number of cases in our community these past months, and we need to keep at it. Travelers who return from a high-risk state can contact our COVID-19 information line at 716-858-2929 to report their travel as soon as they return and to schedule a free COVID-19 diagnostic test, five-seven days past your last day in one of those states.”

To file a report of an individual failing to adhere to the quarantine pursuant to the travel advisory, call 1-833-789-0470 or use the form on the ECDOH website (www.erie.gov/covid19/travelform).

Per New York state, anyone who returns from a high-risk state from nonessential travel will not be eligible to receive paid sick leave benefits for their quarantine period.

“The community has done tremendous work helping to flatten the curve. As our infection rate has significantly reduced, we need those returning to Niagara County to follow public health guidelines and consider free diagnostic testing during their 14-day quarantine,” Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton stressed.

His team said adherence to requirements help to contain the rate of COVID- 19 transmission and protect vulnerable populations from serious illness.

“Anyone currently in quarantine should get tested for COVID-19,” Stapleton emphasized.

A free county testing site is open every Wednesday with appointments starting as early as 9:30 a.m. To register, call 716-278-1900. Testing is free, does not require a doctor’s order, and results are available in between two and four days. For more information, visit: https://www.niagaracounty.com/health/Services/Public-Health-Preparedness/2019-Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19.

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